A new restaurant in Arizona is a dining experience unlike any other. Don’t request a window seat from your waiter, don’t ask if the air conditioner could be turned down. And if you spot a group of bats somewhere in the room, don’t call a health inspector. Today this restaurant opened its doors to adventurous eaters (and its elevator shaft).
Cavern Grotto rests 2.5 hours from the Grand Canyon and 200ft below the earth’s surface. The subterranean speakeasy is part of the Grand Canyon Caverns, a hotel property with tours of the cave system. The system is 345 million years old, old even for caverns and is the largest dry cave in the U.S. This means, the chasm no longer has running water sources or dripping limestone formations. The perfect spot to set up a restaurant.
The property owners thought of the idea for an underground dining room as a way to connect with the caverns. During tours, visitors mostly passed through the location fairly quickly on a fixed route. This didn’t leave much time to enjoy the environments look and feel. As a result, they created Cavern Grotto dining area to allow visitors a longer experience underground. The restaurant can hold up to 20 guests at one time and is open for both lunch and dinner.
Although the cave isn’t “wet” and brimming with intricate limestone formations, the Grand Canyon Caverns is still home to some incredible features. Because the system is so old, large amounts of fossils exist inside. One of the most beloved is a giant sloth who staffers affectionately named “Gertie.” The sloth found its way into the cave during the last ice age, where it recently discovered. A replica of Gertie now stands tall, welcoming guests into the attraction.
If you’re looking the ideal place to stay while visiting the Grand Canyon Caverns, not all rooms are…topside. The hotel is home to several living spaces deep below the surface, most popular being the Cave Suite. This limestone living space is 220ft below the rest of the hotel and the perfect place to have private time. If that wasn’t enough to convince you, the room sports the title of “largest, deepest, darkest, oldest, quietest motel room in the world.”
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